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Anoka-Hennepin school district sued by ACLU

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a transgender student.

ST PAUL, Minn. — A lawsuit filed Monday morning by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is accusing the Anoka-Hennepin School District of allegedly violating the constitutional and civil rights of LGTBQ students. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a transgender student.

The lawsuit alleges that the school district treated the student differently than other students and failed to provide him with "equal and adequate" education.

According to the lawsuit, the teen entered Coon Rapids High School in 2015 and was on the boys' swim team. The teen used the boys' locker room during that time along with his teammates.

The lawsuit then states that on Feb. 1, 2016 the district's school board decided to prohibit the teen from using the same changing facilities as other boys. It also states that the student was pulled out of class to be informed of this decision.

“Denying N.H. use of the same locker rooms as other boys deprives him of equal access to education, programming and extracurricular activities like sports,” said ACLU-MN Staff Attorney David McKinney. “Instead of embracing gender-inclusive policies, the school board and school district chose to discriminate against him and ostracize him based on his gender identity.”

The Anoka-Hennepin School District released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

"Anoka-Hennepin Schools is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment and to providing an education that supports all students and families, including transgender and gender nonconforming students. 

The use of restrooms and locker rooms are determined on a case-by-case basis. The goal is to ensure that all students feel safe and comfortable. Plans for accommodation for restroom and locker room use are made in consultation with school building administrators, the Title IX coordinator, and superintendent in compliance with state and federal law. This approach is consistent with guidance from the National School Boards Association and the Minnesota School Boards Association. Providing privacy for all students is an important consideration. 

Information regarding individual students is considered private student data and the district is not allowed to comment on such information. 

Anoka-Hennepin is confident our actions conform with state and federal law."

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